SOTA DX – VK1 to Europe Long Path Propagation

Tuesday 13 October 2020 – I noticed the Australian Space Weather report MUF and T index were reporting ‘enhanced’ conditions while the K index was close to zero, excellent! I checked the local weather forecast, which with the exception of Thursday, indicated rain for the week. Thursday it is!!

Plan: Thursday 15 October 2020, activate Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 after work from 0600 UTC to sunset 0820 UTC (1700h to 1920h local). Choice of HF Bands; 7 and 14 MHz, primarily 14 MHz. I contacted my good friend Herbert OE9HRV in Bregenz asking if he might have the opportunity to listen for me? Yes! Andrew was the reply.

Equipment: FT-857D, 2 x 8Ah LiFePO4 batteries, linked Inverted V dipole for 17/20/30/40m bands, 7 metre telescopic pole, 10m RG58AU coax. I plan to operate the 857 at 50 watts output.

I posted a note to the SOTA reflector of my intention to activate Mt Ainslie for long path propagation. The note generated a fair amount of interest from EU SOTA chasers and two UK SOTA activators, keen for a UK – VK1 Summit to Summit (S2S) QSO. I asked myself is this an opportunity to regenerate interest in SOTA DX long path during the solar minima? I think it is 🙂

My assessment of the space weather conditions (hunch) paid off. 20m long path propagation opened at 0645 UTC for approximately 1 hour. Band conditions were excellent and the 14 MHz background noise floor at Mt Ainslie was low. I immediately thought back to 2013 – 2015 where you could confidently work Europe chasers with an FT-817 at 5 watts output.

20m DX Window Long Path propagation
0645 UTC to 0745 UTC

ResultDX SOTA Chasers (SSB mode)
20m (14.320 and 14.315 MHz): 15
40m (7.130 and 7.150 MHz): 7

20m: Nil
40m: 6

DX Countries worked
Russia, Japan, Italy, France, Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Croatia and Columbia, yes Columbia!

VK States
VK2, VK4, VK5 and VK7. With the exception of Mark VK1EM/2 located in NSW, I didn’t receive a call from local VK1 chasers, quite odd!

QRN on 40m 😦
Nearby storms (1000 km away) were generating S9 QRN. Conditions on 40m made hearing weak signal reception quite difficult. Note to self – I spent too long on 40m, I should have dedicated that time to 20m chasers.

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: Mt Ainslie 15 October 2020

Maps curtsey of SOTA Mapping

UK Activators: I did hear Mike 2E0YYY on 40m (7.181 MHz) operating from Gun G/SP-013, I called S2S a number of times but didn’t make the distance. Andy G6PJZ was activating Cringle Moor – Drake Howe G/TW-002 on 14.310 MHz, I listened a few times for Andy without luck. 😦

Short 23 second video from Herbert’s radio shack, 14.320 MHz.

06:08UA3EDQ14MHzSSBIgor s58 r56
06:10JH1MXV14MHzSSBHatori s57 r53
06:34F5JKK7MHzSSBEric s57 r44
06:35IK4GRO7MHzSSBLauro s57 r54
06:38F5JKK7MHzSSBEric s58 r45
06:38VK7DW7MHzSSBAndrew s59 r49
06:40VK4SMA7MHzSSBMark s59 r57
06:44F4GMM7MHzSSBLudovic s58 r53
06:44OE9HRV7MHzSSBHerbert s58 r44
06:46ZL2ATH7MHzSSBWynne s57 r57
06:55F5JKK14MHzSSBEric s58 r55
06:57IK2LEY14MHzSSBFabio s57 r44
06:59F5MDY14MHzSSBNic s57 r52
07:01OE9HRV14MHzSSBHerbert s59 r57
07:03DL6MST14MHzSSBKlaus s58 r52
07:05HA3MQ14MHzSSBFerenc s58 r57
07:20EA2DT14MHzSSBManuel s57 r42
07:22IK3XJL14MHzSSBMauro s57 r51
07:24DK2ZT14MHzSSBWalter s58 r55
07:29G0RQL14MHzSSBDon s55 r44
07:319A2CD14MHzSSBCon s58 r58
07:35HK7WA14MHzSSBs57 r55
07:45VK4FTRL7MHzSSBRick s59 r59
07:47VK2EMI7MHzSSBMark s59 r59
07:47VK1EM7MHzSSBMark s59 r57
07:48VK5PAS7MHzSSBPaul s59 r59
07:49ZL3GIG7MHzSSBIan s59 r59
08:00ZL3AWB14MHzSSBAndrew s59 r59

While I don’t have a physics degree, I am convinced there is some form of HF RF wormhole between Mt Ainslie and Europe latitude 41 to 53 degrees 🙂

My SOTA DX history, check the results for Mt Ainslie:

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2 thoughts on “SOTA DX – VK1 to Europe Long Path Propagation

  1. Well done, Andrew!
    It’s a shame I read your thread on the SOTA reflector on Thursday evening (utc) only!
    Maybe next time? Condx seem to improve significantly. Can’t wait to hear signals from down under on 20m LP more frequently again…
    73, Roman – DL3TU

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